Antonio Rudiger’s move to Chelsea has given Barcelona renewed hope they can sign Cesar Azpilicueta, according to reports in Spain.
Antonio Conte was desperate to strengthen his defence this summer, and will have been pleased to have sealed the deal to sign the German from Roma.
However, it could also spell bad news for the Blues.
Because Cadena COPE report it could give Barcelona the green light to make a move for Azpilicueta.
Hector Bellerin is new Nou Camp boss Ernesto Valverde’s first-choice this summer, as he looks to strengthen in that troublesome right-back slot.
However, the Spain Under-21 international is proving difficult to prise away from Arsenal.
Azpilicueta has been one of Chelsea’s best performers since arriving in 2012 — and has been on Barcelona’s radar for a while.
Last season, he was instrumental as he won his second league title with the Blues.
The 27-year-old is extremely versatile and can play anywhere along the backline, which is ideal for Barcelona with Gerard Pique now 30.
Azpilicueta plays on the left of a back three in Conte’s system, but was often deployed at left-back by Roberto Di Matteo, Rafa Benitez and Jose Mourinho.
And that is despite the former Marseille man being predominantly right-footed.
Conte would be loath to lose the Spain international, who he sees as vital.
Alongside Rudiger and David Luiz, Azpilicueta would be part of an impressive backline, with each offering something different.
However, just last month, he admitted he was “proud” to be linked with Barcelona.